As my major is Hospitality and Tourism, I absolutely loved reading this week's assignments, as they coincided with my Tourism Planning and Policy class.
In that class and in my previous studies of tourism, we learned that holidays (or vacations) came from "holy days" where it was a required break to go to church during the pre-industrial time period. Slowly, the trend for the working class turned their leisure time into a time for sporting activities, where as the upper class were more focused on intellectual pursuits- the theatre, health spas, and country walks. During the industrial revolution, work became repetitive and the conditions were foul. Leisure became the antitheses to their daily working life. In the mid 19th century, the unions pushed for paid vacations, shorter working days/week, and for government recognized days off such as bank holidays. In 1936, a law was passed solidifying their requests. Without this, tourism would not exist. With this new notion of tourism, the government and local business capitalized on the railways, cinema, radio, electricity, and amusement parks. Taxation was used to help fund public facilities, like museums, national parks and beaches. During the post war era, steady incomes became prevalent across the American society. Now families were able to own their own cars, which afforded them the means to travel on their own time and stay over night. This launched tourism into a whole new sphere.
I focused on Being Elsewhere and Double-Crossing America. Being Elsewhere supported my previous knowledge, but with a focus on American tourism. For example, on page 188, "that to commune with nature better fits one for the strenuous business life. A vacation is a builder of health, mind, body, and soul....I believe that taking a vacation is as vitally necessary as their diet or their morning daily dozen." Everywhere and everyone, from the Congress floor to the President Roosevelt himself, became and advocate for tourism. Not only was it beneficial for the human spirit, "Vacations renewed the spirit, energy, and efficiently for the salaried middle class", but it "contributed significantly to the decade's economic boom" (p. 187).
It is fascinating to me that back in 1919, the first tourism policies were being constructed. Now we discuss tourism policies as if they are a foreign idea that has never been studied before, however, we Americans have been "selling travel that marketed to the psychological benefits of vacationing to prospective tourists while simultaneously promoting the economic benefits of tourist trade to local executives, government officials, and fellow residents" (p.194-5).
Double-Crossing America was a cute little story with total British humor. Compared to the rest of the readings we have been assigned to, I found this one to be light and fun. I found it very amusing that they were so excited to go and then were surprised at how easy obtaining all the necessary documents were, as if they were secretly hoping for a reason not to go - for the trip would be 6 months! On a more serious note, the bit about confining Susan to a corner of a double bed for five months, since she had been accustomed to her 20'x15' room, private bath, and 16 room estate complete with gardens. The family was proposing to all be one in a "space of 23'x6ft'" as they "hoped to eat and sit in the same room every night" (p. 13-19). What made this so poignant, was that so may other people at the time (referring to the migrant workers) did not choose to live like this. They were forced to, and often were more than two parents, a governess and a toddler, as we have read. Not to say that their plight was far less that than of the migrant workers, but it just is a contrast to the thinking of the time.
To conclude, I will state one of my favorite lines "I would then be a traveler who has been to New York, not America" (p. 14). What a powerful line that puts traveling off the path into perspective.